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Most physical keys have been chased off phones, thanks to the rampant rise of touchscreen technology, but here’s a Kickstarter project that wants to bring smarter kind of physical key to your phone. Pressy is a hardware button that plugs into the headphone jack of your Android phone and can be customised to trigger a range of functions.
So, for instance, if you always wanted a shortcut to snap a photo and upload it straight to a social network you could create that function in the Pressy app. Of course there are apps that can do this sort of thing, but the point about Pressy is that it’s a chunk of hardware that sits within easy reach of your fingers — thereby cutting down on the number of actions required to perform the function you’re after.
The (free) Pressy app will apparently allow a range of shortcuts to be created, based on a combination of short and long presses of the Pressy key. Which all sounds great, so long as you don’t get your shortcuts mixed up — and end up turning on your flashlight instead of taking a sneaky photo, say. Or sending an SMS to your mum saying ‘I’m on my way’, instead of toggling on your Wi-Fi.
The app will also allow for app settings to be customised too, so in addition to a basic photo snapping shortcut you could set up a specifically sneaky photo shortcut that keeps the phone’s screen and flash off and kills the shutter noise. If you wanted to be really, really creepy.
What if you’re using your headphone jack for, y’know, actual headphones? Pressy’s makers have thought of that. The key can be clipped into a small key chain housing, rather than plugged into your phone — and the button on your headphones then doubles as the Pressy key, so you don’t have to fish your keys out of your pockets to trigger your shortcuts.
How much does this smart micro button cost? $17 will get you the basic Pressy. You’ll have to be pretty patient though, as it’s not due to ship til March next year. The project is at least well on its way to hitting its goal of $40,000, with more than $30,000 raised and still 46 days left to run on its funding campaign. Hardware hacking FTW.